Month: March 2014

Stage Review – The THREEPENNY OPERA

Seeing this company’s members perform with their obvious or not so obvious disabilities took me back in my mind to 2007, when I trained alongside a woman who was a versatile artist with a sunny personality. It was during one of those excruciatingly embarrassing and somewhat pretentious sessions when the group were ‘exploring relationship between emotion and its ‘affect’ on self confidence’ that there came a sudden wave of emotional outpouring from her. She said, through tears of frustration, that before she did ‘anything’ – she always had to get past ‘THIS’. She was referring to her wheelchair. And I remember thinking, Bloody-hell – yes, in this unequal and discriminating world, and knowing how intimidated I was feeling about putting myself out there without the added complexity; well, I felt hugely empathic and I’ve never forgotten it. The Paralympics have crashed down these kinds of barriers in sport, worldwide. The work of the Graeae Theatre is ground breaking, a credible force for changing attitudes toward disability within the creative industry if ever there was one. …

Stage Review – The Mummy

The Mummy is a fast-paced and wordy comedy. Echoing Bram Stoker’s novel ‘The Jewel of the Seven Stars’ this mirrors the plot in the respect of the Explorers’ fascination with Egyptology and the reviving of an Egyptian Queen. The Hero of the tale called Ross (Jason Durr) is in love with Margaret (Susie Amy), but she is evasive and a little tricky. Her father, Egyptologist Trelawny (Denis Lill) is cursed after receiving a package at his Cornish home- delivered by a strange man on a stormy night. The two love birds, along with a recovered Trelawny and his exploring chum, Corbeck (David Partridge) as well as Inspector Doolan (Andrew Bone) set off to raid a tomb, but on the way they have to contend with the undead and undying Sosra (Dean Rehman). The humour is dead pan, played out deliberately with a style of forced intensity with gags interweaving. The shadow puppetry at the beginning sets the scene and covers a back story designed to fit the budget (for laughs). And the first 10 minutes …

Mrs Crimble’s Recipe Feature – Gluten and Dairy Free Raspberry and Almond Muffins

Raspberry and Almond Muffins using Mrs Crimble’s HOMEBAKE Muffin & Sponge MIX (Gluten Free) Note: 1 x 200g pack makes 6 muffins or 1 sponge cake. To make 12 muffins: 2 x 200g packs Mrs Crimble’s Gluten Free Home bake Muffin & Sponge Mix 2 large Eggs 140g (5 oz) dairy free margarine – melted 200ml (1/2 pint) Water small pack of Fresh Raspberries Almond Essence Handful of Flaked Almonds icing sugar for dusting BAKING INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees centigrade – Gas Mark 5 2. Line muffin Tray with 12 large muffin cases 3. Whisk lightly together the eggs, melted margarine and water 5. Add a few drops of almond essence 6. Add the cakes mixes and whisk together to give a smooth batter 7. Stir in the raspberries 8. Spoon the batter into the muffin cases 9. Sprinkle a few almond flakes on the top of each one 10. Bake in the oven for 25 mins or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean and the almonds …

A Blog Feature – NEW Muesli Recipes by dorset cereals

We have reviewed products from Dorset Cereals many times and so we feel we do not need to put these new muesli recipes under too much scrutiny. We feature three, new, light and crunchy muesli recipes from dorset cereals which now joins a wider range currently selling https://www.dorsetcereals.co.uk/shop/#cat-muesli Raspberry & Apple Muesli Spelt, Fruit & Nut Muesli Hazelnut & Brazil These are three premium cereals. Dorset Cereals continually produce recipes made from a range of natural ingredients including nuts and dried fruits added to toasted oat, barley and wheat flakes. The company themselves blogged about their muesli recipes in regard to the sugar debate back in January https://www.dorsetcereals.co.uk/our-blog/ TSS says Our only negative is, once again, the packaging issue. We think the spelt, fruit & nut is a recipe that is not, in fact, new, but has been repackaged to join the other two featured here. We put all three to the palette test, the raspberry & apple was the favourite among testers, the spelt, fruit and nut muesli is jam packed with many lovely …

Book Review – QUILT ME by Jane Brocket

ISBN 978-1-908449-25-2 RRP £20.00 Published by Collins & Brown, Jan 2014 Content 160 pages Author, Jane Brocket looks beyond shop bought, purpose-made quilting cotton and has come up with 20 quilt making projects which allows the use of the kinds of fabric that are ‘to hand’, giving inspiring ideas that can bring new life to second hand – vintage material Introduction Brocket reveals her life long love for fabrics, and her interest in the different looks and textures of various textiles. While describing her own fabric hunting exploits she provides buying tips, and tells of the kind of thing that will make her ‘fingers itch’ and what will spur her to get on and quilt. Brocket stresses that the aim of the book is to take lessons and inspiration from previous generations. Brocket also urges that the craft work should always be approached with an open mind and that ones personal taste for fabric should shine through. In her final paragraph she says that the idea behind Quilt Me is that a new quilt can …

REVIEW of Fine Chocolate items by PRESTAT – London Gin Truffle Easter Egg and Red Velvet Truffles

Background The Prestat kitchens have won seven Gold Great Taste Awards in the last two years. The company have London heritage, and have, for many years been chocolatiers held in the highest regard. Descendants of the man who created the world’s first recorded chocolate truffle opened the Prestat shop in London, in 1902. Bill Keeling and his half-brother, Nick Crean, bought the business in 1998. As well as their established shop in Piccadilly, there is now a new Prestat concession in Harrods. Prestat are also selling in Liberty, Selfridges, John Lewis both in the capital and countrywide, and online at http://www.prestat.co.uk/ Prestat began selling chocolates in the USA in 2011. The company also runs a Trading Fairly Social Responsibility Program. Prestat handcraft all of their own chocolates and these are of the finest quality. LONDON GIN TRUFFLE EASTER EGG 6oz – 170g If you have not seen Prestat chocolate, packaged in their rich coloured, gold swirl boxes and packs, displayed on the shelves of top department stores, then look out for it next time. This …

Review of the Cra-Z-Loom Bracelet Maker

Overview It has long been a favourite childrens’ pastime to make jewellery, and key chains etc. using plastic string and knotting techniques and braiding strands of cotton thread for example. This is a new idea to make bracelets and other accessories from rubber bands.         What is in the box? The package altogether consists of: a leaflet which includes instruction to make a Bridge-Style Bracelet or a Waterfall Bracelet from bands, using a ‘Pick Pattern’ a plastic loom 30.4 cm long approx with 42 numbered posts and described as having a tab end and a notch end a bag of 600 latex free small bands in an assortment of colours (enough to make 24 bracelets) a plastic weaving hook a bag of 25 tiny ‘S’clips (to fasten) Price – £14.99 Available online click here What to do Stretch and place bands across the posts to form a grid like pattern. Directions say to then loop and re position the bands on numbered posts using the hook and then to finish off by …

Stage Review – NEVER TRY THIS AT HOME at Birmingham Repertory Theatre (The Rep)

If you are an audience member for this production, then you will also form part of a studio audience, of a spoof chat show, headed by a TV host with a journalistic approach, and not of the nicest class, expertly stereo typified by Niall Ashdown (London’s Comedy Store) . We pretend that TV cameras are to the left, right, and centre, and that an episode of the show is being recorded. This episode is taking a look back in time at a riotous Saturday morning show for children called SHUSHI. Fictitious, of course, but consciously animating the real life TISWAS the ATV Birmingham programme, first aired in 1974. For almost the whole 90 minutes the stage remains the setting for the chat show, with the Host either conducting one to one interviews in front of the closed curtain, or he is sitting to the side, and the stage is a pretend projection screen which is showing ‘clips’ from the archives of past SHUSHI shows. Action can be stopped, slowed down, fast forwarded, or rewound, which …

Understanding Illustration (Bloomsbury 2014)

for the followers of this WordPress blog who are creative and artistically inclined – you might enjoy reading the part review of the book Understanding Illustration (Bloomsbury 2014). If you like this photograph of an illustration by Jan Pienkowski, and the design of Debra Hall shown in the heading, you will enjoy seeing the work of others illustrating the Narrative, and find the author’s imaginative approach taken to part reviewing non-fictional text as refreshing. Take a peek! http://notcompulsory.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/book-review-understanding-illustration.html